Adventures in Ethical Consumerism

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Germany leads fight against GM contamination

From the Institute of Science in Society:

"German Agriculture Minister Renate Kunäst hailed as a major victory a new highly restrictive genetically modified (GM) crops law passed by the German Parliament on 26 November 2004. The new law requires GM crop growers to publicly register the exact location of fields, and holds those planting GM crops liable for economic damages to neighbouring non-GM fields even if planting instructions and other regulations were followed.

[...]

"The new law introduces the principle that GM farmers and GM operators are financially liable for economic damage caused if their crops contaminate non-GM products. It takes a proactive stance against GMOs, and protects organic farms and non-GM conventional farms against insidious dominance of GMOs. It also protects ecologically sensitive zones against transgenic contamination. It lays down rules for good professional practice such as minimum separation distances, documentation, and use of GMO fertilizers. And companies are bound by law to inform growers about compliance with the demands of good professional practice by means of an instruction leaflet; and are liable for incorrect product information."

The move has been praised by Friends of the Earth Europe, and is a bold one for Germany who risk further damage to their troubled economic prospects by making themselves an unpopular destination for big-money bio-engineering firms.

Germany also risks falling foul of the European Commission, who have recently been criticised for wanting to give in to pressure from America, Canada and Argentina over the reluctance of its member states to unquestioningly accept GM imports. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) are currently deciding whether or not to allow European countries the right to say no to GM if they want to.

Friends of the Earth International's Bite Back campaign gives you a chance to register your objection to attempts to restrict choice in the European food chain. Signing the Citizens' Objection is quick and easy. The site also gives you access to a wealth of information on GM, including ways for you to help spread the word.

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